The COVID-19 virus outbreak was officially announced a pandemic in March 2020 and daily routines required a great deal of adaptation including creative ways to get the work done on the farm. These efforts can take a toll on energy levels and mental health causing fatigue and burnout. Even with the vaccine on its’ way, we still have a way to go before the situation improves and the risk of COVID-19 spread is reduced.
Anxiety, stress and depression are heightened due to the uncertainty of the situation, continued isolation, and financial burdens. Farm Safety Nova Scotia recognizes these burdens and are committed to doing what we can to help you through this difficult time.
We continue to offer support through the Farm Family Support Center. You and your eligible family members can receive support over the telephone, in person, online, and through a variety of health and wellness resources. For each concern you are experiencing, you can receive a series of private sessions with an expert. You can also take advantage of online tools to help manage your and your family’s health. You’ll get practical and fast support in a way that is most suited to your preferences, learning preference and lifestyle.
Also, in the coming months, training and webinar resources are available. Topics include Mental Health & Wellness in the Workplace, Mental Health First Aid, Coping with Isolation and Loneliness, Navigating Crisis, Cultivating Your Way to Burnout?, Violence isn’t Just Physical!, and Under the Influence – Safe & Sober at Work? As well, the NSFA and FSNS will continue to advocate for additional support and resources as outlined in the mental health action plan.
Some hints and tips to help relieve some stress and anxiety may include:
· Combat against loneliness by reaching out to those who are a positive influence. Phone or set up a video chat. When we talk, we grow! Chat about your challenges, explore solutions or even just share your feelings, listen and support each other.
- If you are looking for a more lighthearted approach, set up a virtual game night, create a book club and have group discussion using phone conferencing, or go for a walk and chat with your neighbours at a distance.
- Pay it forward. Show others kindness and compassion especially to those you know who may have suffered loss or are grieving. It is a hard time for everyone but a little kindness and compassion can go a long way.
- Take advantage of change by embracing it rather than bulking at it. This can be the time when new schedules, equipment, routines, and habits can be developed on farm.
- Reflect on your thoughts and behaviour. Is it positive? Are you experiencing an abundance of negative self-talk? Challenge those negative thoughts?
- Get plenty of rest by prioritizing sleep.
- Keep up with a good diet and exercise regime. Avoid excess amounts of comfort food and alcohol. Good nutrition increases our ability to remain positive and resilient thus improve our coping strategies.
- Have an attitude of Gratitude. Show appreciation and acknowledge what is good in life.
- Dr Bill Howatt of Howatt HR says these tips can help charge our batteries to help us be mentally fit. Visit the Maintaining Mental Fitness COVID-19 Farm Safety webpage for additional microskills.